(ML) - Wisdom's Delight in Marriage Love: Followed by Insanity’s Pleasure in Promiscuous Love

ML 55

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55. To the above, I will add two Memorable Relations. First: A melody of the utmost sweetness was once heard from a heaven where wives together with virgins were singing a song, the sweetness of which was like the harmonious flowing forth of the affection of some love. Heavenly songs are nothing else than sonorous affections, that is, affections expressed and modified by sounds; for, as thoughts are expressed by speech, so affections are expressed by songs. Angels perceive the subject of the affection from the symmetry and flow of the melody.
There were many spirits about me at the time, and from some of them I learned that they had heard that sweet melody and that it was the song of some lovely affection, the subject of which they did not know. For this reason they made various conjectures, but in vain. Some conjectured that the song was an expression of the affection of a bridegroom and bride when betrothed; some, that it expressed the affection of a bridegroom and bride when going to their wedding; and others, that it expressed the honey- moon love of husband and wife.
[2] An angel from heaven then appeared in their midst and said that they were singing the chaste love of the sex. But those standing around asked, "What is chaste love of the sex?" The angel answered: "It is the love of a man for a virgin or wife of beautiful form and becoming manners--a love free from any idea of lasciviousness--and the like love of a virgin or wife for a man." Saying this, the angel vanished.
The singing continued, and because they then knew the subject of the affection it expressed, they heard it quite variously, each one according to the state of his love. Those who looked chastely upon women heard the song as something harmonious and sweet; but those who looked unchastely upon women heard it as inharmonious and sad, while those who looked upon women with loathing heard it as discordant and harsh.
[3] Then suddenly the plain on which they were standing was changed into a theatre, and a voice was heard, saying, "Investigate this love." And suddenly spirits were present from various societies, and in their midst several angels in white. These angels then spoke, and they said: "In this spiritual world we have inquired into all kinds of love, not only into the love of a man towards a man and of a woman towards a woman, and into the reciprocal love of husband and wife, but also into the love of a man towards a woman and of a woman towards a man. Moreover, it has been granted us to pass through societies and make investigation, and thus far we have not found the general love of the sex to be chaste, except with those who from love truly conjugial are in continual potency, and these are in the highest heavens. It has also been granted us to perceive the influx of this love into the affections of our own hearts; and we clearly felt it to exceed in sweetness every other love except the love of two married partners whose hearts are one. But we beg you to inquire into this love, for to you it is new and unknown. By us in heaven it is called heavenly sweetness because it is pleasantness itself."
[4] When they then discussed the matter, those spoke first who could not think of chastity as pertaining to marriages. They said: "Who, when he sees a beautiful and lovely maiden or wife, is able so to restrain and purify from concupiscence the ideas of his thought as to love her beauty and yet in no way desire to taste it if permitted? Who is able to change the concupiscence innate in every man into such chastity--that is, into what is not himself-- and yet love? Can love of the sex, when entering by the eyes into the thoughts, stop at the face of a woman? Does it not instantly descend to her breast and beyond? The angels spoke empty words when they said that that love can be chaste and yet be the sweetest of all loves, and that it can exist only with husbands who are in love truly conjugial and thence in pre-eminent potency with their wives. When they see beautiful women, can they any more than others keep the ideas of their thoughts on high and hold them in the air, as it were, so that they do not descend and press on to that which makes that love?"
[5] After these, those spoke who were both in cold and in heat; in cold towards their wives and in heat towards the sex. They said: "What is chaste love of the sex? When chastity is added to it, is not love of the sex a contradiction? and what is the contradiction in the addition, other than a thing from which its predicate is removed? and that is not anything. How can chaste love of the sex be the sweetest of all loves when chastity deprives it of its sweetness? You all know wherein the sweetness of that love lies; if then the conjunctive idea associated with the love is banished, where and whence is its sweetness?"
Other speakers then took up the matter and said, "We have been with the most beautiful women and felt no desire; therefore we know what chaste love of the sex is." But their companions, who knew their lewdness, answered: "You were then in a state of loathing of the sex from lack of potency, and this is not chaste love of the sex but is the last state of unchaste love.:
[6] Indignant at hearing these sentiments, the angels asked that those would speak who were standing on the right or at the south. These then said: "There is a love of man and man, and of woman and woman; and there is a love of a man for a woman and of a woman for a man. These three pairs of loves are entirely different from each other. The love of man and man is as the love of understanding and understanding; for man was created and thence born that he may become understanding. The love of woman and woman is as the love of affection and affection, the affection being the affection of the understanding of men; for woman was created and is born to become the love of man's understanding. These loves, that is, the love of man and man and of woman and woman, do not enter deeply into the breast but stand without and merely touch each other; thus they do not inwardly conjoin the two. Therefore, two men fight each other with an abundance of arguments like two athletes; and sometimes two women fight each other with an abundance of concupiscences, like two stage players fighting with their fists. But the love between man and woman is the love between the understanding and its affection, and this enters deeply and conjoins. [7] Such conjunction is the love itself. Conjunction of minds and not at the same time of bodies, that is, the striving towards such conjunction alone, is a spiritual and thence a chaste love. This love exists only with those who are in love truly conjugial and from this in eminent potency; for, by reason of their chastity, they do not admit the influx of love from the body of any woman other than their wife; and, being in supereminent potency, they cannot but love the sex and at the same time hold in aversion what is unchaste. Hence they have a chaste love of the sex, and, regarded in itself, this is interior spiritual friendship which derives its sweetness from eminent but chaste potency. They have this eminent potency by reason of their total renunciation of whoredom; and because the wife only is loved, it is chaste. Now because with them that love does not partake of the flesh but only of the spirit, it is chaste; and because, at the same time, from an implanted inclination the woman's beauty enters into their mind, it is sweet."
[8] On hearing this, many of the bystanders put their hands to their ears, saying, "These utterances hurt our ears; the words you have spoken are empty nothings." They were unchaste.
Then the singing from heaven was again heard, and now sweeter than before. But to the unchaste it grated so discordantly that, because of the harshness of the discord, they threw themselves out of the theatre and fled, a few only remaining who from wisdom loved conjugial chastity.


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